Every year Dr. Baker and Jessica Scott travel to the Association of College Educators of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ACEDHH) conference. This year we were lucky that the conference was hosted so close by – in St. Louis, MO! As with every year, we had a wonderful time connecting with old colleagues and meeting new friends! The conference hotel was very close by the beautiful arch, so we had a wonderful view out of our hotel room window!
The conference this year provided us with no shortage of ideas to implement in our classrooms and in the reading clinic. Jessica learned about an assessment of reading fluency and comprehension designed specifically for Deaf/Hard of Hearing children that can be administered in less than 5 minutes on an iPad. The assessment was created by Dr. Susan Rose at the University of Minnesota. So far this is making a great new addition to our instruction in the reading clinic! We also learned about systems in place to help pre-service Deaf Education teachers reflect on their American Sign Language abilities, which we hope to implement this year. The keynote speaker also told us about the importance of writing as a part of the learning process (as well as learning in shorter bursts over longer periods of time instead of learning a new skill or concept in one long session).
The end of the first night was a social hour where we got to catch up with old friends. It was so wonderful to be in the company of distinguished researchers and teacher educators who are all working to improve the education of pre-service teachers, as well as Deaf and Hard of Hearing students. This was not the only social opportunity, of course. The second night Jessica attended the bilingual Special Interest Group (SIG) meeting, where she was able to visit with professors and doctoral students from Gallaudet University, Columbia University Teacher’s College, and Lamar University, among others. All of these professionals are interested in the bilingual and bimodal development of Deaf and Hard of Hearing students, and a number of wonderful and fascinating conversations were had. And additionally, a former student from TU, Jessie Menchak is living in St. Louis and earning her master’s in counseling and an AA in interpreting. She was able to meet up with us for several days of the conference and attend the bilingual SIG social as well. It is always so nice to hear from past students and see how they are doing for post-TU life!
On Friday morning, Jessica and Dr. Baker presented a poster on the challenges of conducting research in schools for the Deaf/Hard of Hearing, which was very well received. In fact, several superintendents of schools shared that they wished all researchers thought about these issues, and a representative of the National Leadership Consortium in Sensory Disabilities asked Jessica if she would be a guest lecturer to share this information with doctoral students in the field of Deaf Education!
The ACE-DHH conference is always a wonderful opportunity to connect with colleagues and researchers across the country who are interested in the same issues that we are here at TU. Who wants to join us next year in New York??